Putin Panders to Virgins; Mugabe Eats a Croc Cake; Kim Jong-Il's Gold Coins

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With an upcoming election in Russia, the 88th birthday of Robert Mugabe and an Iranian triumph over an Israeli filmmaker, it's been a busy day in propaganda for the world's authoritarian regimes. Here's our review of the best in state-sponsored agitprop:

Putin Panders to the Virgin Vote

Here in the U.S., we've seen a lot of ill-advised electioneering this year but Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin takes it to a new level with his new TV ad targeting virgin women. In the spot, a young girl tells a fortune teller this will be her "first time." The fortune teller replies "I see it will be for love," as she flips a tarot card with an image of Putin standing smugly. Exit line: "Putin. The first time—only for love." Gah!

Mugabe Receives a Crocodile Birthday Cake

We hope you didn't forget. This weekend was Zimbabe President Robert Mugabe's 88th birthday and as the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation informs us, the country's top confectioners baked him "wonderfully made cakes" to express "appreciation to the national icon." In the image to the right, Mugabe is blowing out the candles of a crocodile-themed cake amid a backdrop of men who couldn't look like they're having less fun. 

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But the creative confections didn't stop at the croc cake. As ZBC reports, another cake depicted the country's Eastern Highlands with frosting-ized versions of its  "abundant mineral resources, the Pungwe River, human settlements as well as flora and fauna." Great attention to detail. The third cake depicted Zimbabwe's Might Victoria Falls complete with green icing that looked like the rainforest, blue icing resembling the Zambezi River and a bridge that passes over it "distinctly illustrated." 

Clearly, "such creativity was befitting for a man whose legacy has not only towered over the continent, but the world over."

Iran state TV Triumphs Oscar Win as Victory Over Israel

Iran and Israel have been fighting a proxy war for years but who knew it would spill out onto the Academy Awards? Last night, A Separation won for Best Foreign Film, beating out a slew of acclaimed films including the Israeli film Footnote. Iran's state TV didn't waste any time—casting the victory in nationalist terms as the homeland succeeding in "leaving behind... the Zionist regime," reported the Associated Press. It was actually an unexpected reaction. "The government, while it highlights sporting achievements and technological leaps as a source of national pride, has often been dismissive of international cultural and entertainment awards."

Get Your Kim Jong Il Commemorative Coins!

Leading the homepage of the Korean Central News Agency today is news of a hot new product coming to North Korea: Collectible coins commemorating deceased Dear Leader! For a limited time, the Hermit kingdom will be issuing pure gold coins (35 mm in diameter, 2mm thickness) and pure silver coins (40mm in diameter, 3mm in thickness), emblazoned with the slogan "The Great Leader Comrade Kim Jong Il Will Always Be Alive."

As if the regime needed a reason to start minting these fine doubloons (it's not as if famine and hunger is a problem or anything) the state news agency tells us this was merely what everyone in North Korea wanted the government to do. "It is the unanimous will and desire of all service personnel and people to convey down to posterity the immortal feats he performed for the country, revolution, times and history, with the unshakable faith that he is always be with us." Sure beats the hell out of the USA's private sector, commemorative plates for President Obama. National priorities, people. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.